A horse is a girl's best friend, and for 13 year-old Gabrielle Dray, Bugger the brumby is hers.
The Wallerawang rider and her trusty companion have proven they have a bond like no other after being selected to compete at the 2021 State Pony Club Sporting and Campdraft Championships in Walcha on April 3.
After scoring fast times in her sporting events recently through Oberon Pony Club, Dray was notified of her selection.
"I was so excited to find out I'm going to state champs for sporting, it's my favourite event," she said.
Dray said to get Bugger ready for the competition she would spend time working her.
"In terms of preparation we'll do walking, trotting, fitness and I will try and ride as much as I can.
"Rest days are important and I've got to fit in my school work," she said.
She said she was excited to head to Walcha for the event and was only a little bit nervous.
I get very nervous before an event but I just think that I'm at home or somewhere I like to be and put my trust in Bugger.Gabrielle Dray.
"I get very nervous before an event but I just think that I'm at home or somewhere I like to be and put my trust in Bugger.
"I'm hoping to go well [at the championships] but also have fun," she said.
She was also excited to meet more people and make new friends.
"I love being able to travel for horse riding, it's awesome."
Dray said she loved everything about horses and has been riding all her life.
"There is nothing better when I'm riding or around my horses. It makes me feel happy and relaxed," she said.
She said her ultimate goal was to travel around rodeos and be the best rider she could.
Dray's mother, Gena said she was very proud of her daughter and how she has progressed in her riding.
"I'm very proud of her.
"Oberon Pony Club has been great in giving her a challenge and allowing her to progress in her riding," she said.
Dray wanted to thank Bullen & Co and Dray's Rural Contracting for their sponsorship and Allie Booth from Powder Monkey Business who helps in training Bugger.
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